The Foot in Cycling
The foot in cycling is my second pillar bike fit, which I found hard at first, as the foot is often the starting point in my functional assessment as a physio.
So Why Second!
It still pains me to put it second! But it is for a good reason. I spent most of my career working as a physio in rugby, where on-ground function is dominant. So for me, it starts with the foot.
In cycling, I would put the pelvis first because this is the functional centre of cycling. This does not mean the foot in cycling is not important; quite the opposite. It’s a pretty close second. Plus, in my view, the body is not as segmented as all that…it’s a functional chain, so all elements are important, just with a slight hierarchy.
The interesting thing about the foot in cycling is that it is much less to do with its mechanical function (which I was obsessed with as a physio!) and much more to do with its sensory properties. With cycling shoes the way they are, there is very little information passed from your feet into the nervous system, making your brain’s ability to make your body perform limited.
The foot has been studied so extensively in walking and running, but really not that much in cycling. If you do a search, there are interesting things about the differences between cycling in running trainers and cycling in stiff-soled shoes. There are interesting studies on manipulating the shoe/cleat/pedal and seeing what happens to the rest of the body. But actually, not much about the foot itself. Most likely because it’s pretty hard to do. As a result, many of the shoes very much focus on being light and stylish.
Things are changing gradually, Lake shoes are generally much wider and have their cleat position further back, which is great…more on shoes below.
If you have any foot, shoe or general bike fit questions, please get in touch 🙂